Skip to content

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on

Issue 5 - Evidence

OTTAWA, Thursday, March 13, 1997

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries met this day at 9:30 a.m. to consider the questions of privatization and quota licensing in Canada's fisheries.

Senator Gérald J. Comeau (Chairman) in the Chair.


The Chairman: I call the meeting to order. Our witness today is Mr. Ron Bulmer, who is appearing on behalf of the Fisheries Council of Canada.

Please proceed, Mr. Bulmer.

Mr. Ron Bulmer, President, Fisheries Council of Canada: Mr. Chairman, senators, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today on the issue of property rights in the fishery. I wish to make a few opening remarks.

First, I want to remind everyone that the public or common property concept in the fishery has not existed for years. We all know that you cannot be a commercial fisherman, a recreational fisherman, and you cannot even fish for food unless the government grants you that right, a right that is increasingly scarce and expensive. In fact, the government tells you how big your boat can be, what the mesh of your net will be, when you can fish, and who will be your fellow competitors and resource sharers. I want to be clear that the discussion is in the context of the benefits of a program of property rights, not if we should have them, because the decision that there would be specific rights given to specific people in the fishery was made years and years ago.

The most fundamental change that we are all living with in the fishery -- and, historically, this is an issue that we could go back and review from about the 1920s -- was the 200-mile economic zone created in 1978. We all remember the enthusiasm that greeted this wonderful event of the 200-mile limit in Atlantic Canada. It was enormous. Foreign trawlers would be pushed out beyond 200 miles. We had all that fish for Canadians. There would be more boats, more plants, more jobs and more prosperity. Yet, it was a very short period of time from 1978 forward to November 1992 and the Task Force on Atlantic Fisheries. They tabled their now famous Kirby report. Senator Kirby is currently the chairman of the banking committee in the Senate. That report was needed to try and rescue the impoverished groundfish fishery just a short four-and-a-half years after this wonderful event.

I will not go into great detail, but in that short four years, the number of plants had grown from 500 to over 700. The fishing power on the water had increased dramatically. Incomes per fisherman or person in the industry were very low. I have borrowed two quotes from the Kirby report. The first reads as follows:

Fishermen must have an incentive to catch their allowable quotas at the least cost.

And second:

Fishermen are virtually forced into a race for the largest share of a quota before his neighbour gets it. Some type of quasi property right in the form of a licence quota is required to give each fisherman an assured share of the quota.

As we all know, that proposed scheme was primarily put in place and applied to the offshore fleet. At that time, government managers created the concept of "enterprise allocation", or sharing the offshore groundfish quota and giving a fixed amount to the various enterprises.

If we look from the downturn of the early 1980s forward to the mid-1980s, we were faced with everything beneficial to a fishery. We had a weak Canadian dollar, and we are an export industry. We had very strong and growing seafood demand. We had high prices. We had good catches and record volumes from the Atlantic fishery in 1987. Everyone thought the bad times were over. Yet, we need only to look forward a very short period to the early 1990s and we were back into a situation where the stocks were in trouble and so were the people.

As the next historical document worth a review, I refer you to the Task Force on Incomes and Adjustments in the Atlantic Fishery created by Richard Cashin, previously head of the Newfoundland Fishermen's Union. His report came out in November 1993, and I quote:

In 1990, some 42,000 families made a living from the fishery; 16,000 in harvesting, 26,000 in processing.

The report, after defining the problems of low incomes, short seasons and excessive investment, concludes:

Overcapacity is one of the fishery's most fundamental problems. A method proposed as a remedy is the expanded use of individual quotas! With respect to IQ or IT quotas, he went on to write:

individual quotas provide security of access

certain economic benefits accrue to individual operators in terms of operating costs, market advantages and planning.

He also noted:

no social consensus exists in their support

I assume that is one of the key things with which this committee will be grappling.

I jump forward to 1994 when the Fisheries Council of Canada released a report called "Building a Fishery That Works: A Vision For the Atlantic Fishery." It is a short, 26-page read, and it focuses on many of the direct issues that are involved here. It also gives you also a quick synopsis of fisheries around the world that use them, in particular Iceland and New Zealand. If you start at the first white page and go to page 26, I think you will see a lot of the issues, the questions, the problems and the suggested solutions encapsulated.

Let me quote one sentence:

The resource is not converted to private property --

That is one of the key issues that I think we must talk about.

-- it is just the access to it that becomes more secure.

Canada still owns the resource under an issue of private property rights. It is a further refinement of the current exclusive preserve of limited entry licence holders. It is the next logical step on a compendium. I have provided copies of the "Vision" for you. When you have a chance, you may want to address it in more detail.

Finally, I would refer you to a 1996 book. The Atlantic Institute For Marketing Studies held a two-day seminar on this issue in St. John's, Newfoundland. The book is entitled Taking Ownership. It encapsulates most of the papers that were presented there. For anyone who was not there, if you have the time, a quick read will give you a wealth of background on the issue.

A collection of papers on the various aspects of property rights is a must read for the committee. Let me quote Dr. Art May, who is currently President of Memorial University and previously was Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He provides the forward to the book.

The single overwhelming feature which bedevils attempts to produce prosperity and stability in the fishing industry is the common property nature of resource exploitation.

Honourable senators, I join you today surrounded by some fairly impressive company -- Senator Kirby, Richard Cashin, Dr. May and some learned professors. They have all examined common property fisheries management and have found it lacking. They argue for the benefits of a secure access to quota in order to fish cost effectively, to limit the expansion of investment in overcapacity, to provide better quality to the market, to have better marketing of seafood and to have better marketing returns.

As my closing remark, I want to touch on that very last concept -- better market returns -- because it follows up on what I said the last time I appeared before this committee. This is more necessary in 1997 than ever before because the government now must share in the market return from selling fish. As government budgets are being reduced, they need higher licence fees. They need to share the cost of fisheries management with fishermen and processors, and they need to pass on enforcement costs and science costs. Many of the things the taxpayer once paid for now will be passed on as an industry cost. There is only one source of income to share those costs. It is from ultimately marketing seafood in the marketplace, and it is a market dollar that now must be shared with government more than ever before.

If we are to be in a position to do that, then we must allow and even encourage the fishery to achieve cost efficiencies in order to pay for the privilege of fishing, the cost of fishing, and hopefully still have enough money to support the thousands of families I mentioned before.

Mr. Chairman, I hope that gives a broad framework for a good discussion with members of the committee.

Senator Stewart: You quoted figures from Mr. Cashin's report. You say, quoting him:

In 1990, some 42,000 families made a living from the fishery; 16,000 in harvesting, 26,000 in processing.

Could you give us approximate figures for a more recent date, let us say, 1996? If you cannot, that is fine.

Mr. Bulmer: I cannot. What really confused it, of course, was that so many of those people were in the groundfish fishery. As we all know, almost 40,000 of them are now on the famous TAGS Program, either because they worked in plants that were groundfish oriented or fished for groundfish. I guess the answer is that if you add people who actively fish and people who are on government support programs, that number probably has not reduced very dramatically. The real question as the support programs drop away is how that will need to readjust itself in 1998 or 1999.

Senator Stewart: Let us concentrate on the 26,000 involved in processing. Could you give us any breakdown as to what percentage would be employed now in the processing of fish caught by Canadian fishers as distinct from fish caught by non-Canadian fishers?

Mr. Bulmer: I could not give you a hard percentage. There is no question that of the majority still working in the plants, they are harvesting a Canadian-caught resource. In particular, the lobster fishery is still at good levels, as is the crab fishery. The capelin are back in Newfoundland as well. I would guess that 3,000 or 4,000 workers in the plants are now dependent on accessing offshore raw material. In particular, the larger, integrated companies have been trying to maintain their base of customers in the U.S. by buying Icelandic, Norwegian or Russian headed and gutted frozen fish, bringing it in, thawing it and then making value-added products. I guess at the large plants of National Sea and Fishery Products, et cetera, they would still provide several thousand jobs. That would be based on raw material bought offshore.

Senator Stewart: That is helpful. I think it is fair to say that one of the big concerns of some of the inshore fishers is that the individual transferable quota system will lead to a concentration of secure access. To push their fear to the extreme, they see a situation where only the big companies have what you called secure access and that they, formerly the inshore fishers, are, as they would say, simply deckhands for National Sea, or what have you. Could you help dispel that fear?

Mr. Bulmer: Sure.

Before we even get to fishermen, there is no question that in the processing industry there are concerns about instituting a system and allowing it to concentrate. I am talking processor versus processor. There is no question that there are people who historically have depended on groundfish and who obviously do not have a crab licence. They have had no source of income for several years in Newfoundland, and they are concerned that a system like that is suddenly allowed to be put in place and to concentrate. Perhaps the guy who was in the crab fishery for years and made a buck would be the only person in a position to get his hands on it.

It is not just a concern about large, integrated companies. They are concerned that people who were in other forms of business and have had a source of income would be the only people who could get their hands on, let us say, a groundfish quota. Your comment applies equally to harvester concerns and to processor concerns.

Let us move to the harvester side. Where these quota systems have been instituted, there has not been any major concentration. I would start with the West Coast and the halibut fishery. There were more purchases of halibut licences in the years leading up to the quotas. Once the quotas came in and having a halibut licence became profitable, the people who had them did not want to sell them. They wanted to stay fishermen and have an income. They wanted to be in the business for the long term and hopefully turn it over to their children.

Lake Erie is an example where this system has been in place for a number of years in the fresh water fishery. I like to tell the story of going down to Lake Erie right in the middle of the summer season and talking to a guy whose boat was tied up. He was painting his boat. I said, "You are not out fishing." He said, "No, I have an individual quota." He said, "I had some work to do on the boat." He said, "In the old days, I would have had to take that boat out regardless of its condition because the quota was going to be caught." He said, "I have my quota 365 days of the year, and if today I want to paint the boat and fix it rather than go fish the quota, that is the best of my time because next week I will still have my quota to go and catch." That is a hands-on example.

Might I say that the fishermen in Lake Erie fought this thing to the last day until it was imposed. If you go down and talk to them now, or have someone from that fishery come and talk to you, I do not think they would argue for anything but keeping the quotas. It was the best thing that ever happened to them.

We have not seen a big concentration where quotas have been put in.

Where quotas have been put instituted in some fisheries, they have been controlled by policy. In the herring fishery, for the seiners in southwest Nova Scotia, no one can have more than 4 per cent of the total allowable catch. In some of the other fisheries, that is controlled to a maximum of 2 per cent.

The government does not need to put quotas in and then just open things up and say that someone can end up with 99 per cent of all of the northern cod quota off shore. As I say, this is not private property in the sense of a farm, that once you own it, you can put trees on it or plant wheat or let it lie fallow or do whatever you want. There are all sorts of ways to manage quotas by government policy because the fish are still the property of the Government of Canada. You can institute use-it-or-lose-it rules.

Some are worried that if people have quotas, maybe they will only bank them or maybe they will stay on shore and let someone else up the road go. All of that can be managed because the government gives up none of its rights to set fishery policy or to manage these things. Quotas are a secure access to a percentage of the total quota so that a man can rationalize his costs and rationalize how he goes fishing.

Senator Stewart: What you have said is helpful.

Again, I am staying with the question concentration. Thirty years ago when Hédard Robichaud was the Minister of Fisheries, he was very concerned about the problem in the Atlantic salmon fishery, particularly in New Brunswick. The situation as he described it to me was that people, medical doctors for example, actually were the real owners of the benefits of the licence, but there were fronts. One of his undertakings was to remedy that situation.

Now, to come down to more modern times, let us look at the blue fin tuna operation off southwestern Nova Scotia. Here is a fishery in which if you get a tag, you are almost certain to be able to get a fish to go with your tag. They are not as big or as valuable per pound as fish caught off Canso, but you are almost sure to get them out in what I think they call the "Hell Hole".

I am told -- this is the news on the wharf -- that of the 32 licences for blue fin tuna in that zone, there are actually about five or six owners. I suspect the Department of Fisheries would say that is not correct, but the Department of Fisheries has been known at least on one occasion to have been wrong.

I tell you these two anecdotes to suggest that the kind of fear many inshore fisherpersons have is not something for which they cannot cite some specific illustrations. I have given you an ancient illustration and I have given you a fairly modern illustration.

How is this kind of concentration, even in the hands of bona fide fisherpersons, prevented?

Mr. Bulmer: I am not a lawyer, but I suggest that if you use the term "owner" fairly carefully as to who put the money in for the boat or whatever, then the owner might be someone on shore or someone's rich uncle. The owner might be a bank. However, in the end, the licence and the name on that licence is in the name of a fisherman. I am absolutely sure, and I think the DFO would confirm, that there must be 32 names. If they went out to seize the licences for some reason or shut down the fishery, they would take them out of the hip pockets of those 32 people.

Again, the person who has that licence has no power to automatically say the lawyer or the bank has his licence. That is a very big debate. One of the reasons the provinces had to get into this area of setting up loan boards so fishermen could improve their boats was because most institutional lenders realized that the economic value was more in the ability of that unit to go and harvest fish -- that is, the licence. However, given that the licence is in an individual name, the licence cannot be guaranteed against a loan to a normal institution. As a result, people were having trouble getting money and the governments got into it. They were prepared to not accept the security, and they made loans just against the production.

Whatever the costs of fishing, you may say that five or six key people have lent money to other people to gear up or to have a licence. I do not know whether it is five or six or sixteen, but I think there are many cases like that where people are indebted to other people for being in the fishery. Again, by policy, the person who has done that has done it on the assumption that whoever they are giving the money to will, as an honest individual, pay them back because there is no way they can seize that licence against any kind of an economic guarantee.

Senator Stewart: As I understand the situation, it is not quite as you put it. The way you have interpreted it is that the friendly banker has financed the boat and the gear, et cetera. My understanding of the situation, which may be inaccurate, is that the five or six, or whatever the number is, are actually the entrepreneurs and that these others are, in a sense, fishing agents out on the sea.

Mr. Bulmer: Surely the licence must be in the name of the agent out on the sea.

Senator Stewart: Yes, of course. There is no question about that.

Mr. Bulmer: That is the real economic value. The economic value is in the tuna that the licence can catch.

Senator Stewart: Yes, but in reality, the beneficial owner may be someone who has never hooked a blue fin tuna.

Mr. Bulmer: I am sure that for the other people who are not in that situation, probably the most beneficial owner is the bank. If guys get $20,000 worth of tuna, I will bet you for lots of them the first payment they must make is to the Bank of Nova Scotia because they owe them $15,000. The bottom line is that if the licence were to be seized, it cannot be seized by the bank or the beneficial owner, as you call them. The only entity that can actually get its hands on the licence is the entity which conveyed that right to a named individual -- the Government of Canada.

The Chairman: By way of supplementary, do you know if a licence has ever been seized? I have never heard of the DFO seizing a licence from armchair fishermen or absentee fisher people or people who do not actually do the fishing.

Mr. Bulmer: I am not aware of one.

The Chairman: I am not aware of one either. I do not think such a thing happens.

Mr. Bulmer: I do not want to leave the impression that this relates only to blue fin tuna. I have heard the same stories from Prince Edward Island in relation to the lobster fishery. Some of the more successful fishermen really are the bankers for huge numbers of other lobster fishermen.

I think in a lot of these fisheries the government does have this policy that, quote, the owner is supposed to actually be the operator right on the boat. There is another policy, whether it is policed or not, which tries to ensure that the person with the right is physically earning income with it.

Senator Robertson: That is interesting because it conflicts with some information we received from the Department of Fisheries the last time we met. We may need to go back and review that again.

I would like to start with a very general question. What is your view of the future fishery for the Canadian economy? How do you feel about the general fishery and how it will impact our people and our economy?

Mr. Bulmer: At this point, I am fairly pessimistic that in spite of the never-ending crisis cycle in this fishery, the lessons are not being learned. The Government of Canada and the provinces must decide whether this thing is a business to generate wealth for individuals who harvest, who work, or who invest capital, or they must decide whether it is a social reason to maintain communities and populations in certain places and not to allow any concentration, et cetera. Almost no money is being made by many people out there in this fishery. Yet we see constantly this changing role where government has found a need to share in the return from the cod end.

I go back only five years when the marketplace would give the industry a buck. Then on top of that, you went to ACOA and you went to a provincial loan board and you went to Industry Canada. There were marketing support programs around this town. That is all gone. We have gone from what five years ago I called "a buck plus" to now what I call "a buck shared".

Let us take the crab fishery or the lucrative fishery, as people loved to call it. We are talking about fisheries that are under this individual quota system. The quotas are not transferable. You cannot go and buy Harry out, but they are shared up. There are 130 licences in the gulf, and they have X amount of quota each to go and fish.

They signed a deal here about ten days ago. They will assume 100 per cent of all of the management costs related to the crab fishery. All the science, all the managers and all the enforcement will come out of what they are getting from crab. They have agreed to set up a fund for 15 cents a pound, every pound landed. This will be a social fund to help crew members who might lose their jobs in the fishery or plant workers in a crab plant.

Mr. McKenna was in the papers on this past weekend saying to the plants in New Brunswick who process crab, "You will either provide your workers 16 weeks of work from the crab fishery, or I will take your licence away to process crab and give it to someone else who will." This comes at a time when four years ago the fishermen got $4 a pound for crab, and last year they got $2.50 a pound for crab. Their competition, the fishermen in Alaska, have seen their price for snow crab, exactly the same animal, slide to 60 cents U.S. That is what they are paying in Alaska this year. The market is oversupplied and soft.

They have not settled in Canada. I do not want to contemplate what the price will be, but here are a bunch of people who, instead of getting $4 a pound, will probably get something like a quarter of that. Yet, they will be asked to absorb all of these new costs. I can tell you that the lucrative crab fishery is all over in 1997, and I can go example after example down the road.

Getting back to your question, I do not see a change in philosophy. As I sit here, I am very pessimistic that governments will continue to see this as a social engine of regional development and that somehow they will set policies that maximize employment and share the wealth. To heck with the markets and to heck with cost efficiencies in harvesting or processing.

You cannot run a crab plant with 16 weeks of work as your starting objective. What has that got to do with what the Japanese want or what they will pay or whether I should be making crab clusters or crab meat? How do you run a business when you start with a threat from your premier regarding your licence to be in business?

It does not make any logical sense to me, so I am not very optimistic that we have learned any lessons. It does not matter how many books I can bring out covering 20 years of history.

Senator Robertson: I am not surprised with your answer, but it is perhaps a little more depressing than I had anticipated.

Is there a model internationally that you would recommend the Canadian fishery look at? Is there a model predicated upon a good, economically viable fishery in some other jurisdiction? Is there something you could point to and say that if we did it this way, it might work?

Mr. Bulmer: Again, I do not think we can wave the magic wand and tomorrow things will turn around 180 degrees. I do not think you can put in ITQs, make them all transferable in every fishery, and open it up so every lawyer in Toronto can buy them. That is not a Canadian solution. We need a goal with respect to where we are heading, one which is more businesslike and sets policies.

I would like to give you a quick review of the Icelandic model. Here is a little wee country with about the same size fishery as Newfoundland. There is no oil to subsidize. They have managed to flourish for the same hundreds of years, right from the Vikings, as we have in Atlantic Canada, and they have income just about equal to the United States or Japan. They have done it all with cod, and they have managed their fisheries. They have quota systems in every fishery. They allow people, once they have a quota, to decide whether they want to catch it with a rowboat or a freezer trawler. They do not make all of those judgments for them. They say, "If you are prepared to invest, then catch when you want and with whatever level of investment in technology you want." Our government always held them up in the marketplace. Boy, if we could just market cod like the Icelanders.

There are examples where people have managed to sustain an economic system based on the fishery, and I am suggesting that we should adopt some of their goals and then develop a Canadian solution to get there. I am not here to say let us just pick up the New Zealand example and impose it on the fisheries.

Senator Landry: What is a fisherman? Is it something he is born with? Is there a stamp on his forehead?

In northern New Brunswick, a fisherman can own a plant and he can own the fishing licence. This thing has also caused some problems in EI, as you mentioned. Fishermen own the plants, run them for about 12 weeks, and they close. That is what they have to do. To own a plant, some find other species to harvest so they can keep going.

The worst part is that in the last two years -- nobody can prove it -- but the fishermen plant owners are high grading and coming out with prices that we can not meet because they have a superior quality compared to the rest of us. Something must be done about that.

Mr. Bulmer: Senator, you raise a good point. I should have presented it myself, but thank you.

This idea of setting up quotas and then the concern that processors will end up owning them should certainly be on your mind. There is this notion that if you are a fisherman and you have made money, you can be a shore processor the next day.

I would guess, Senator Landry, that 50 per cent of the crab plants along the north shore of New Brunswick are owned by fishermen. They are the entrepreneurs and the capitalists.

I was in a meeting in Halifax yesterday with Marcel Comeau of Southwest Nova, a very successful company and the largest employer in that whole area. He said his dad was a lobster fisherman. That is where they got their start. They came from the boat and just got on shore. The chairman of the board is Cliff Doyle. James Doyle Industries is on the west coast of Newfoundland. Cliff was on a boat, and his dad was on the boat before him, and they now operate several of the shrimp plants and groundfish plants and other things.

Certainly there have been no restraints on entrepreneurial, businesslike fishermen who got some capital behind them and said, "Well, let us integrate towards the market, and if there is a margin in marketing and processing fish, let us access that as well and invest our fishing capital in it." Somehow the government has always said that the sin is if things are going the other way with companies wanting to secure their access.

The other thing is that with some fishermen deciding to become shore processors, the processors who depended on those fishers for their raw material have seen it disappear. Is that not correct, senator? People in places like Bell Bay who said, "I used to have 17 crab boats on land here, and now that they are all operators of plants, I have 3 left."

There is good news and bad news. That is business -- you win and lose. However, as I say, we have a government that somehow thinks it is a wonderful idea for fishermen to become processors, but it is a great sin if processors want to secure access to raw material by owning fishing licences.

Senator Landry: Mr. McKenna said that creates too many plants and then they can only make so many weeks. Right now we are packing crab from Rhode Island, but the fishermen will not get into that problem. They just pack their own.

Mr. Bulmer: Yes. The fisherman-owned plants are using their own raw material. You must go offshore and access it.

Senator Landry: Some of those fishermen that had crab licences are not even aboard their boats, and the ones that are aboard their boats are high grading.

Senator Stewart: What do you mean by "high grading"?

Senator Landry: The Japanese think more with their eyes and their mouths. The species must be perfect. If there is a leg missing, the price must come down. Those who are high grading, if a crab is not the right colour or a leg is missing, they throw it back. At the bottom of the ocean, I think the majority are crippled. They only take the best, while our fishermen bring everything in. An example that was shown to me this summer was where one of our boats and one of theirs were fishing right alongside on the same grounds. We came back with 18,000, they came back with 11,000. The difference is what they threw back.

That must change. In order to strengthen the law, I think there would need to be an observer on every boat, although the observers would be paid by the fishermen.

The Chairman: The crabs they throw back, do they die or can they survive?

Senator Landry: Some survive, but the soft-shelled white ones do not survive. The ones that survive are almost like the lobster size that you have north of the island. It is the same water. One throws them back and the other one catches them.

Mr. Bulmer: There is no question that enforcement in all the fisheries is a problem. As you get tighter markets, your costs go up. You must make a living for yourself after all of these costs. There is increased pressure on people, then, to land the best size or the best quality, so there is enforcement now.

My personal opinion is that there may be some offsetting here in that people are probably more tempted to steal government fish. Do you know what I mean? If there is a global quota, all you are doing is cheating on DFO. When you get five or six people to share the quota, if I start cheating and steal more than I should be, I am not stealing government fish -- I am stealing your fish. There is real pressure. We found particularly with lobster in P.E.I. that some of the fisher groups have actually hired their own wardens. In addition to what the government provides in enforcement, they are actually looking after themselves because, again, it is a very scarce resource these days. It is like poaching. Put in a 1-800 number and blow the whistle on the guy who is cheating.

Senator Landry: If you use the phrase "government's crab" in northern New Brunswick, they would shoot you. They say that is "our crab".

Mr. Bulmer: They like to think that.

The Chairman: You mentioned the fleet separation policy of the government allowing fishermen to become processors and finding something very detrimental with respect to processors going into harvesting. Has the DFO ever given any kind of rationale for this or any kind of excuse or reason?

Mr. Bulmer: No. It has just been stated policy that they wanted to keep the maximum number of boats in the maximum number of people's hands, and they did not want corporate concentration.

Senator Stewart: The question is prompted by the example that has been given about the price of Queen crab. I gather, and I am pretty sure I am right, that we are being told that there is an increased supply of crab on the market largely due to increased catches in Alaskan waters. Since we are selling our product in the world market, whether it be lobster, groundfish or crab, what do we know about the world supply of the various species? You mentioned earlier that some processors are processing raw fish material imported into Canada. That again is an entry into this whole question. We made a great noise about the danger to the groundfish in the straddling stocks, which implied that the straddling stocks were badly threatened species. What is the situation with regard to the North Atlantic insofar as the supply of the major stocks are concerned?

Mr. Bulmer: First, with regard to world supply, the fishing business has been a world-traded business for hundreds of years. I mean Napoleon's army marched on Newfoundland and dried salted cod, which was the traditional trade. Everyone in this business today, large, medium or small, are piped in to the world. Of course, with improving communications, they are even more piped in. That is one source of world knowledge with respect to who else has what quota.

Second, the FAO out of Rome tracks all of this in terms of world landings by country, by species, as well as world quotas that are set. There is a central source where you can track all of that.

The third and probably the most reliable source is actually your customer base. Surprisingly enough, when you get to something like crab, Japan is such a integral market that if you are talking to half a dozen of your Japanese customers, they know exactly how much King crab they are getting out of Alaska and how much King crab they will get out of Russia. You start talking to your buyer base, and it does not take you more than an hour to know exactly what is the world supply. It is the same with respect to lobster and most other products.

The World Groundfish Forum is held every year in London, and everybody who is anybody in the groundfish business attends that forum. They present papers to each other on how much will come out of Norway or how much will come out of the Bering Sea, Russia, Canada and Alaska. There is a tremendous network and a very daily network in terms of what is out there. It is so tuned in now that prices are set literally daily based on supply and demand. If you are in New York and you are in the salmon business, boy, you can pick up a phone and talk to Norway, New Brunswick and Chile. Whoever has the half cent for you, they put the fresh salmon on a plane to New York, and it is in your warehouse 24 hours later. As I say, people will buy half a plane load of salmon on half a cent, from wherever in the world. The world supply is very well known. It is either quantified by governments or the business network.

With respect to straddling stocks in the North Atlantic, again, I must rely on our own scientists who are out there gathering the data. Everything I hear and see is that in the far northeast Atlantic, the groundfish are very strong. Most of those stocks are shared by Norway and Russia. That has been the biggest source of offshore cod coming to Canada. The Icelandic stocks seem to be recovering, and their quotas are starting back up.

As you come around the corner from Iceland and come back into that Greenland and northeast Newfoundland scene, according to our scientists, there are almost no beneficial signs of any major recruitment happening with the critical northern cod stock. It is very scary. As you come south, by the time you hit the mouth of the gulf, 3PS, they are debating whether this fishery can even withstand an opening at this point.

As you come down off southwest Nova Scotia, again you find that haddock and cod and pollack all seem to be in some kind of a recovery phase with better stocks and young fish coming in. There is optimism in certain areas from a resource point of view, but, as I say, there is no optimism at all yet with the critical stock off the coasts of Newfoundland and Greenland.

Senator Stewart: You are making a distinction which I did not make, and your distinction is a useful distinction between supply and stocks. When I used the word "supply", you correctly interpreted it to mean what I did not mean. You interpreted it to mean the supply that is coming to market as distinct from the stock. With highly efficient harvesting techniques, it could well be that there was a large supply today but there would be no stock tomorrow.

Mr. Bulmer: Exactly.

Senator Stewart: Then you went on in the latter part of your question to deal with what I really wanted to get at, the state of the stocks, and you mentioned the ground fisheries particularly. What about the Queen crab in the gulf? What is the situation?

Mr. Bulmer: According to our scientists, we are probably near or at the bottom of a low cycle. In the last two years, the big chunk of the crab taken out have been older, what they call almost a terminal moult. They will die anyway. They will not moult again and keep getting bigger; they should be caught. Older crab of course then get into what they call mossy crab. The shell is not as nice, et cetera, which gets into some of the issues Senator Landry raised about why you bring the perfect ones to market and perhaps do not bring in some of those other ones.

The quota is 15,400 tonnes in the gulf, and 12,000 will go to those 130 traditional licences. Then the rest are being shared, some 750 for P.E.I. and aboriginals, et cetera. That 15,400 tonnes compares to about 16,800 tonnes last year and 21,000 tonnes two years ago. As you say, that has been on a down cycle.

If you go back eight or nine years, you will find that the quota was as low as 9,000 tonnes. I have been at it 18 years, and in those years, 9,000 tonnes was the lowest quota for crab in the gulf.

With respect to lobster, there are all sorts of theories between the scientists and the hands-on fishermen. This is one they have been tracking a long time. We have 100 years of landings data. About three years ago we peaked at the 100-year high, equal to 1889. If you take a look at the 50 years in the middle -- it was at about 48,000 tonnes -- that is 24,000 tonnes. Now we have had three consecutive years where it has come down. Is it fishing? Is it systems? Is it related to some kind of biological cycle that just happens?

The fishermen in P.E.I. that I speak with have argued that it is related to a shortage of groundfish, which feed very heavily on lobster larva. If you have no big cod around there, then you can expect more of the larva to survive. Are we now getting back into some kind of good-news-bad-news relationship where we have cod in the gulf and lobster on a declining base? Again, we call in the fishery scientists. God bless them, they do their best, but it is still a black art to some degree.

Senator Landry: I have been told by fishermen that when they threw back the small lobster, they never reached the bottom.

Mr. Bulmer: The cod would eat them on the way down.

Senator Landry: The escape hatch has been good for that, but the small lobster does not come out.

Mr. Bulmer: The point is that fishery scientists are doing their best to understand this, and fishery managers are doing their best to set the right quota.

I was always upset with people who said that there was some kind of political scheme to go out and crucify the Atlantic fishery. That is revisionist history. Everyone has always wanted to have a sustainable fishery and practice conservation. We spend a lot of money at it. We are doing our best. However, we are anything but perfect. Whether you are in industry or science or fisheries management, we are all trying to practice this black art as best we can. I get so upset when I open a paper and someone wants to predict that they know exactly why the lobster fishery was down 9 per cent last year in Atlantic Canada. I do not buy any of that stuff.

The Chairman: You have just given us a great quote, "the practice of the black art".

Senator Robertson: I should like to go back to what I perceive as you advocating fisheries based on property rights, which you qualify by saying "wherever it would improve harvesting efficiency and supply conditions". When you speak of efficiency, what do you mean?

Mr. Bulmer: Cost efficiency, senator. We must give people the ability to be as cost effective as they can.

In these global quota fisheries, we manage by length of the boat. The quota is set at X amount for a certain gear type up to 45 feet, and then there is a Y volume for boats bigger than that but less than 65 feet, et cetera. What you end up with is what people call the pregnant 44-foot 11s. They are one inch short. They are so wide and so deep that one wonders how they can stay afloat. You put the biggest engine in them and you can haul the biggest possible net.

We have draggers off South West Nova. A guy tells me they will out-kill any trawler that National Sea ever owned in terms of actual fish-killing power. If you can get enough horsepower in there to tow the biggest engine, the fact that the boat is only 65 feet long only becomes one factor in its ability to harvest.

You can give someone 100 tonnes of quota and tell them to fish it cost efficiently. The great example of that is the B.C. halibut fishery I noted earlier. Under these global quotas, the halibut fishery used to last four days. They would take two crews out and fish 24 hours a day. On some of the boats, they did not even stop to gut the fish. As the long line was coming over the side, they just cut the fish and put them into the hold with the hook still in and kept going out the other side because they knew they had four days to get as much halibut as they could.

It all must come to shore in four days. Obviously you market about 2 per cent of it fresh and 98 per cent would go to the freezers. They put in quotas. The people now fish for nine months. They market it themselves, and their incomes have gone up 40 per cent. It goes to the market fresh. In bad storms they do not risk life and limb by going out. If they think that the December market is the best market price for halibut, then they put a little more effort into capturing that market return.

I must tell you that the processors are probably the most unhappy people around that fishery because 98 per cent of the catch does not come to them to be handled and frozen. That fishery has built a whole new market and a whole new return from the marketplace. But, hey, if I were an economist, I would tell you that it is now cost-effective. The fishermen do not need the biggest boats with the most crew to fish the fastest so as to end up with a frozen product to give you the least market return to net dollar for yourself.

Senator Robertson: I have another question on this property rights based fishery. If I understand you correctly, you argue that some objections to the rights-based approach have merit. Would you just review that side of it again?

Mr. Bulmer: First, we do not say it is a blanket policy. There are fisheries where input controls are used to manage the lobster. Your control is 275 traps per licence. There again, you do not tell the guy with that licence whether the boat should be 100 feet long or 40 feet long because you are controlling the pressure on the stock by how many traps he can put on the bottom. In my estimation, there is no sense overlaying that with an individual. There are fisheries where that is probably not an appropriate kind of management technique.

The concern people have is one of corporate concentration. In some cases that concern could be legitimate, and therefore you control it by policy. You could stipulate who can own them or to what degree they can concentrate. Again, DFO can do its homework and set all of this up as a policy framework. They must be conscious of enforcement and high grading.

I do not agree that you must put someone on every boat because, as Senator Landry said, if you get 10 boats fishing within a mile of each other, one boat is catching nothing but fish this long and everyone else is catching a mix. Guess what? It is probably statistically inaccurate to assume that every fish that boat caught was that long.

You could implement some kind of scheme on a percentage basis to get a sense of whether there is cheating going on, et cetera.

By the way, more and more fish are moving through dock-side monitors where there is an independent monitor neither employed by the fisherman nor by the processor buying the fish. The monitor is in between. Also, he does a count of weights and fish sizes. Some incremental enforcement costs perhaps go with it, but they are not insurmountable in my opinion.

Senator Robertson: Do the courts tend to view traditional fishing licences as properties? Someone gave me an example within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Act, but is a fishing licence like property in the court's eye?

Mr. Bulmer: This gets complicated. On the West Coast, as I understand it, you buy a personal fishing licence, but your actual species licence goes with the vessel. If you buy a boat out there, you can get the licence. However, in Atlantic Canada, the individual owns the licence and the individual can go bankrupt. Technically, the licence has no economic value in spite of the fact that, as you say, people will become owners thereof indirectly.

In fact, I know that the Government of Nova Scotia tried to impose that through their loan board. Before they would lend a fisherman money, the fisherman had to pledge his licence. If he did not make his payments and they came to seize his boat, the licence would not go with it. That did not stand up in a court challenge.

You can go bankrupt, lose your vessel, and leave your loan board swinging, but you still have your groundfish licence in your pocket.

The Chairman: I should like to note for committee members that a few visitors have decided to come in for a few minutes and see how a Senate committee operates. This is one of the better committees, by the way. These are young students from the Forum for Young Canadians.

Welcome to the committee. I hope you enjoy the deliberations.

Senator Petten: We have heard fears expressed that ITQs will eventually disrupt local economies and communities. If they are transferred across coastal areas, given that ITQs belong to the licence holder and not to communities, is this a legitimate concern?

Mr. Bulmer: If the policy was that they could move geographically, sure, no question. There is a possibility.

I guess I should probe a little bit here. Again, I do not think this fishery could withstand a community allocation approach, whether you actually give the community the licence or tell the community that 14 licences must fish from this port.

Folks, let me tell you that I do not think people even think about it. With respect to small craft harbours, do you know how much the commercial fishery and small boat fishery in Canada have depended over the years on keeping the wharf structure up so they have some place to tie up and off-load? As budgets go down, that disappears.

I cannot conceive of a day 15 years up the road where we will be off-loading fish in as many places as we do in 1995. Again, given the economics of the fishery -- because the fishery must pay for it -- I do not think it can afford to keep up 1,300 small craft harbours around Atlantic Canada. I do not know if anyone is thinking about it or worrying about it. I am not even sure if fishermen have begun to focus on it. However, I will tell you that it is one of those sorts of economic realities that will pitch in.

I think, yes, if you just had these quotas moving up and down geographically, they would have impacts. However, I think many other things over the next decade will impact as well on where the fish gets off-loaded. The Newfoundland government is involved in setting up this board. They have decided there are 50 per cent too many fish processing plants in Newfoundland. The experience has been that there are mostly one per town. One can contemplate that if, over the next five years, there is a program to close 50 per cent of the plants, 50 per cent of the towns will not have the economic base that paid for their skating rinks and picking up their garbage. In most of those towns, the number one economic generator was the boat, the fish, the net, the gas, the plant, the welder and the trucker. All of that spin-off economic activity came to those communities from landing a pound of fish. As you make the decision that plants must go, you will see that people will either drive to work or be bussed or change their lifestyles. That is all ahead of us in the fisheries unless you contemplate some way that we can keep it the way it is and send enough money that it never needs to change. If that does not happen -- and I do not see that being on -- then we are looking at some pretty dramatic changes in the Atlantic region, and we are just arguing that here is one more impact of many, this quota system, that must be reviewed.

Senator Robertson: Most of us who live in the Atlantic generally have not considered fishing villages as single industry towns the way the mining industry and other industries have. I think we must change our thinking from what we all know now so that we all say it is too bad when a mine runs dry and the people must do something else or move on. We have never considered that particularly. We have been avoiding that with the fishery, but the time has come. I agree with you that it is a different circumstance.

Senator Petten: Just to follow along on that particular thought, would you look at supporting the notion of community-based fisheries co-management as an alternative to privatization?

Mr. Bulmer: No, Senator Petten. I would see that as one more step toward a social fishery. You would need the wisdom of Solomon to deal with it. Take the 10,000 tonnes that is being contemplated in 3PS. You would have to decide which fishermen could fish and how much of it would be for gill nets and how much for mobile gear. You would have to say, "Five of you will land 50 tonnes over here and five of you will land 50 tonnes over there." Then you would have to try and open a fish plant and operate it for half a day. As well, we are getting into this current EI system of bundling, and you could not even get people to come to work for a one-day fishery. In my view, that just adds one more level of complexity to management. If your objective is that somehow we will protect all the towns, then yes; but, if your objective is to make it a business and make it a net tax contributor to the economy of Canada, coastal community quotas as a concept will be a step backwards.

Senator Petten: I am sure you have heard that if the fishery recovers in two years or three years or whenever -- and we all hope it does -- we will employ then maybe a third or half of the people involved in the industry before. How would you react to that?

Mr. Bulmer: Less people. Fifty per cent was the number quoted all over the media from a myriad of sources. I think someone picked that out of the air. I do not think anyone knows what the number is, but it will be less. It will be less just because in the interim period the government bought up a bunch of licences. Mr. Cashin says that he thinks he has taken about 9-per-cent harvesting capacity out of the business in that interim period. That in itself was a step towards change and less people being in the business. As I say, if we are to bear all of these costs, then we must have cost efficiencies, which makes an argument for capacity reduction, both on the water and on shore.

Senator Landry: When you mentioned the four-day fishery on the West Coast, I think it proves that sometimes a change can be good for the industry. When the lobster licences were attached to the fishermen instead of the boats, I objected to that some 20 years ago during Roméo LeBlanc's days. What I said in a letter I wrote at that time was that all you are doing is helping the bums of the industry, because for responsible fishermen, it does not matter where the licence is attached. We have lost some money. We have had fishermen grab a licence and they say, "I will keep the licence; take the old boat and do what you want with it."

Senator Stewart: As the witness said, we have had the 200-mile economic zone now for almost 20 years. Very soon after Canada acquired this 200-mile economic zone, some of the major fish companies were in very serious trouble. Now, I do not know whether we can set aside the world market condition where we are selling our fish abroad, but let us assume that we could set that aside. If we had to do it all over again, what would we do? To come at it another way, what did we do that we ought not to have done or we ought not to repeat? Was it a matter of excessive competition having the effect of putting too much supply on the market and thus driving down the price and the profit? Was it that we went to techniques which were damaging to the stocks or that we caught all the fish that were in the net rather than catching a specific fish on a hook as in the old days? Can you grapple with that?

Mr. Bulmer: Without wandering over all the impacts on the fishery, I guess the one outstanding driving force that has existed since the 200-mile limit was instituted has been to maximize employment in the fishery. Many people have used the phrase "the employers are of last resort." Through those early years and right up into the mid-1980s, anyone was accommodated if they came in the door and said, "I will create 50 jobs, and all I need is a subsidy and some help to get me going." That is how the capacity was created. However, no one ever stopped to ask where they would get the raw material. The absolute peak was in 1987. The maximum landings of fish or total volume landed in Canada from 1978 to 1987 was up 27 per cent. That was a net benefit from the 200-mile limit.

Of course, federally registered fish plants over the same period went from 509 to a little over 1,000. Never mind that the 509 probably had an increased capacity with technology, better freezing and better this, that and the other.

The whole issue was jobs. Everything else flows from jobs.

What was the implication of UI? Did UI and the supplementing of income stimulate jobs? What was the impact on a plant that used to operate 30 weeks if four more plants were now having to share the resource? The guy who used to operate 30 weeks then would need to scale back to being a 12- or 15-week plant because there was not enough resource to keep him going for 30 weeks.

Once you start focusing on the objective of using this raw material to maximize jobs, from that come all kinds of spin-off policies, such fishery policy, allocation policy, subsidy of capacity policy. It then spins through issue after issue in the fishery.

Senator Robertson: With our reduced stocks and all the problems in the fishery, can you tell me the impact that free trade has had on the economics of the fishery? Are we doing enough with value-added in our plant structures or could we do more?

Mr. Bulmer: The fish industry is 80 per cent export oriented. About 60-plus per cent of that goes to the United States. The first answer is that we are free traders everywhere in the world because when 80 per cent of your business comes from exporting, you cannot be against anyone closing a market, whether it is the United States or Europe or whatever. We are free traders.

Let me then take it to the free trade agreement. Sixty per cent of our business is in the U.S. There is no question that the potential benefit exists for us to do more value-added because the tariff is coming off. In the 1970s, the big companies all set up branches in the United States and developed whole businesses down there because there was such a tariff against value-added products and there was nothing against the cod block. You exported the block to yourself in the United States tariff free, and you did your fish sticks. In other words, we probably lost an opportunity to have a whole value-added business in Canada because it does not cost any more to truck the fish stick than it does to truck the block to yourself on the other side. Our industry could have benefited from free trade with the United States even earlier. We are finding that we are bringing herring back out of the northeast United States and putting it through Connors, as an example, in New Brunswick. They depend for whole parts of the year on accessing raw material. The salt fish industry in Nova Scotia brings big pollack up from the United States, salts and dries it in Nova Scotia, and then re-exports it to Spain, Portugal or what have you.

I cannot think of any example where the free trade agreement has not been beneficial to the Canadian fishing industry. The West Coast fishery depended so heavily on being a canned industry. That did not move to the United States because Alaska of course was a major canner of salmon. They depended on the U.K., on Australia, et cetera. Since the free trade agreement, we have seen that as much as 20 per cent of the salmon business is salmon in other forms. That is now moving into the United States. They are less dependent on an older technique now. In the U.S., they are building whole new businesses using their salmon. I am sure a big chunk of that came out of the tariffs coming off all of those kinds of products under North American free trade.

In spite of the peso, I am asking my people to stay focused on Mexico, which offers a tremendous opportunity. We do not buy a pound of tuna from there. They are one of the biggest canners of tuna in the world. Importers could see a whole growth business there in two-way trade.

The Chairman: Mr. Bulmer, you mentioned the lobster fishery as being one of those types of fisheries where you did not need ITQs. Others have used the example but I do not know if they realize that this is one of the very few fisheries that does not have a TAC -- a total allowable catch. It would be difficult to have an ITQ without that.

You also mentioned that estimating the biomass out there is a black art. I would like to refer to what happened when ITQs were first introduced in 1989 in southwestern Nova Scotia. Things seemed to be going along quite well until September when the scientists realized that the total allowable catch was in fact not what they had estimated it should be. The DFO subsequently, in September, slashed the quotas. What happened was it rewarded those people in the ITQ sector who had rushed for the fish, and it punished those people who had used the first nine months to overfish.

I am wondering whether this might not be one of the downsides of what ITQs were supposed to be -- security of access to the fish in order to spread things out and become a more market efficient operation. Given ITQs and the reality of practicing a black art or not knowing how many fish are out there, are we benefiting from this practice? If the DFO can come in at any time during the year and cut, are we not in a situation where people will rush to catch the fish even with ITQs?

Mr. Bulmer: I do not think there is anyone in the fishery, hopefully, who does not think that conservation and sustainability for the long term is where it is at. If that requires a fisheries management decision in mid-season which has negative economic implications on a business or a harvester, they will have to live with it.

The Chairman: No one will disagree with it.

Mr. Bulmer: Yes. Therefore, I would not throw the baby out with the bath water on the spectre that occasionally you might have to come in and close the fishery mid-season and that if a fisherman was not catching his quota right up front, he would have the most to lose. As I say, conservation, sustainability in the long term and the benefit of ITQs are concepts that ensure that businesses will be there year after year.

Again, if we have economic units out there, any business will experience downturns. If you have some financial health so that you can sustain that kind of one-time phenomenon for the benefit of having your quotas for the next five years, I think as a business person, whether you are a harvester or not, you would accept that as a good business.

I would like to clarify that little "black art" reference. The black art comes from the fact that this is not a biomass and it is not science. You put it all into a ball of wax. Do not let me leave the idea that I am somehow saying scientists do not know what they are doing. I am saying scientists do the best job they can. Given that information, fish managers do the best job they can to allocate it and set the right tack. From there, enforcement people try to police it. Even politicians, in spite of wanting jobs and economic growth, do not set themselves up to say, "Let us destroy the fishery this year." The mix of all of those less than precise concepts then makes the whole thing a black art. Then one day you wake up and you have a problem with the northern cod fishery. Everyone wants to point at that gear or that politician or that decision. I argue that, if it was only that simple, we would not have made these mistakes. It is because all these circles overlap and add up that in the end we are doing our best to manage fisheries sustainably. However, it is still a less-than-precise science. It is not heart surgery.

The Chairman: Last weekend, an article appeared in the Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia regarding a forum or meeting that was held in Halifax. It was called "The Viewpoint". It is a viewpoint article on the question of quotas. The article mentions a gentleman by the name of Arthur Bogason from Iceland, who came to Halifax with cries of warning to our coastal communities saying that what happened in Iceland could happen in Canada. It refers to the imposition of ITQs in Iceland. The article reads as follows:

Meanwhile, some coastal communities have lost all access to their traditional fishery, and for the first time ever, coastal residents are drifting into the city and going on welfare.

Now this warning states that with the concentration of quotas in the hands of the few and on the altar of efficiency, we will close our communities. I guess that is the direction this committee is going. We want to find out if there has been a healthy debate as to whether this is where Canadians wish to go. Do we want to close off our coastal communities in Atlantic Canada and in the west? Is this being done without some kind of a healthy debate on the part of Canadians. In fact, historically, the fishery has been viewed as a resource belonging to all Canadians. One of the subjects we are grappling with, along with the efficiency of catching fish, is how fast and efficiently can a fisherman catch fish? How fast would the community disappear? Does the community have anything to say at all, or should it be left strictly to the fishermen to decide how they want to catch the fish and where they want to process that fish. If they decide to move to another community down the road where there may be better schools or better libraries, is this where we wish to go as communities? I am asking more or less a philosophical question of you.

Mr. Bulmer: I do not come from Atlantic Canada to the fishery; I come from the Ottawa Valley and a 100-acre subsistence farm. I come from an era after the war in the 1950s. At that time, you could almost make a go of it with 12 cows, 14 hogs and 100 hens for cash. You ate everything that you could grow yourself. After that, you had a bit of cash money. Yet none of those communities supported a welder. They supported an equipment dealer and they supported a locker guy where you froze your chickens.

However, as agriculture changed in Canada, that way of life could not be sustained. I guess we could say the same thing about railroad towns. No one likes change. Human nature hates change. That is the first thing you start with, whether you are running a company or anything else. You do not like it. However, I do not believe that if you take a long-term view you can say that somehow with community quotas or some magic little wand you can stop change in the communities of Atlantic Canada and who is in the fishery and who is not. It is just like my dad getting up and walking to an industrial job because a hundred acres did not generate enough lifestyle to raise a bunch of kids and get them an education.

The Chairman: Ultimately, I suppose, if we follow your suggestion straight to the end, we must start considering moving people in those coastal communities to Halifax, St. John's, or probably Moncton.

Mr. Bulmer: It may be a generation thing. Maybe there will be a time when the current generation is supported, Mr. Chairman, but the fishery will not support as many children as it currently supports their parents. Over time, you end up with a changing mix. Statistics already indicate that in Newfoundland the average age of fishermen is going up because there are not as many young people coming in to the fishery. Younger people are saying, "This is not the economic opportunity there was for my dad, so I must do something else." They are working on oil wells or whatever.

We change over time and the fishery will change over time. Many industries that were once a traditional way of life in Canada have had to change.

The Chairman: We appreciate your perspective, Mr. Bulmer. Thank you for allowing us to probe your great knowledge of the industry. Thank you as well for the ideas you have presented to the committee. If we have any more questions, perhaps you would agree to return.

Mr. Bulmer: It is always a great pleasure to join you.

The Chairman: Senators, our clerk has distributed the budget that we proposed for this study. Your steering committee met last week and agreed to the budget. If the committee agrees, I would like to table this budget with the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

Senator Stewart: I so move.

The Chairman: Is it you pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

The committee adjourned.

Back to top